Prisons a prison is a state or federal confinement facility that has custodial authority over adults sentenced to confinement

Download 20,04 Kb.
Date conversion04.12.2017
Size20,04 Kb.


  • A prison is a state or federal confinement facility that has custodial authority over adults sentenced to confinement.
  • The use of prisons as a place to serve punishment is a relatively new way to handle offenders.

Early Punishments

  • Were often cruel and torturous: Generally fit the doctrine of lex talionis:
    • Law of retaliation
    • “An eye for an eye”

Early Punishments

  • Early forms of punishment included:
    • Flogging
    • Mutilation
    • Branding
    • Public humiliation
    • Workhouses
    • Exile

The Emergence of Prisons

  • It is unknown when the first prison was established.
  • Punitive imprisonment noted in Europe in the Middle Ages.
  • American prisons began in the late 1700s.
  • Early confinement facilities stressed reformation over punishment.

Stages of Prison Development in the United States

  • FIGURE 13–1 Stages of prison development in the United States.

The Penitentiary Era

  • 1790--1825
    • Philadelphia Penitentiary begun by Quakers for humane treatment of offenders.
    • Rehabilitation through penance (solitary confinement and Bible study).
    • Known as the “Pennsylvania System.”

The Mass Prison Era

  • 1825--1876
    • Auburn Prison (New York) featured group workshops and silence enforced by whipping and hard labor.
    • This Auburn system was the primary competitor to the Pennsylvania system.

The Reformatory Era

  • 1876--1890
    • The reformatory style was based on the use of the indeterminate sentence.
    • Elmira Reformatory attempted reform rather than punishment.
    • Used a system of graded stages
    • Gave way to the system of “parole.”
    • Ultimately considered a failure, since recidivism was still a problem.

The Industrial Era

  • 1890--1935
    • Prisoners used for cheap labor in the era of the industrial prison.
    • Six systems of inmate labor: contract system, piece-price system, lease system, public account system, state-use system, and public works system.
    • Labor unions complained that they could not compete.
    • The passage of the Hawes-Cooper Act and Ashurst-Sumners Act limited inmate labor.

The Punitive Era

  • 1935--1945
    • Characterized by belief that prisoners owed a debt to society.
    • Custody and institutional security the central values.
    • Few innovations.

The Treatment Era

  • 1945--1967
    • Medical model suggested inmates were sick and needed treatment.
    • Most treatments include individual or group therapy.
    • Other forms of therapy include:
      • Behavior therapy
      • Chemotherapy
      • Neurosurgery
      • Sensory deprivation
      • Aversion therapy

The Community-Based Era

  • 1967--1980
    • Based on premise that rehabilitation cannot occur in isolation from the real world.
    • Prisons considered dehumanizing.
    • Led to innovations in the use of volunteers and the extension of inmate privileges.
    • Programs include:
      • Half-way houses
      • Work-release
      • Study-release

The Warehousing Era

  • 1980--1995
    • Public and judicial disapproval of release programs and recidivism led to longer sentences with fewer releases.
    • Nothing works doctrine
    • Warehousing of serious offenders designed to protect society.
    • Prison overcrowding became widespread.
    • Greater emphasis on incarcerating non-violent drug offenders.

The Just Deserts Era

  • 1995--present
    • Based on the justice model.
    • Emphasis on individual responsibility and punishment.
    • Imprisonment is a proper consequence of criminal and irresponsible behavior.
    • Chain gangs, “three-strikes,” and reduced parole.

Prisons Today: Race

  • The rate of imprisonment for African American males is seven times that of white males.
  • Bureau of Justice Statistics states that a black male in America has a 32.3% lifetime chance of going to prison; white males have a 5.9% chance.

Prisons Today: State Usage

  • Use of imprisonment varies considerably between states.
  • Factors contributing to the variation:
    • Violent crime rate
    • Political environment
    • Funding for prisons
    • Employment rate
    • Percentage of African American males
    • Level of welfare support

Prisons Today: Facility Size

  • The size of prisons vary.
  • One out of every four prisons is a large, maximum-security prison house almost 1,000 inmates.
  • The typical state prison is small.
  • It costs about $62 a day per inmate.

Prisons Today: Typical System

  • The typical state prison system has:
    • 1 high security
    • 1 or more medium security
    • 1 for adult women
    • 1 or 2 for young adults
    • 1 or two specialized mental hospital-type security prisons
    • 1 or more open-type institutions

Overcrowded Prisons

  • Overcrowding is a serious issue.
    • Prison capacity—The size of the correctional population an institution can effectively hold. There are three types of prison capacity:
      • Rated
      • Operational
      • Design
    • Rhodes v. Chapman (1981)—Overcrowding is not by itself cruel and unusual punishment.

U. S. Prison Population, 1960 - 2008

Selective Incapacitation

  • Selective incapacitation:
    • Is a strategy to reduce prison population.
    • Seeks to identify the most dangerous offenders and remove them from society.
    • Is reflected by career offender statutes.

Security Levels in State Prison Systems

  • There are three security levels:
    • Maximum
    • Medium
    • Minimum
  • The typical American prison is medium or minimum custody.

Maximum Security

  • Most maximum security institutions tend to be massive old buildings with a large inmate population, including all death row inmates.
  • They provide a high level of security with:
    • High fences/walls of concrete
    • Several barriers between living area
    • Secure cells
    • Armed guards
    • Gun towers

Medium Security

  • Medium security prisons are similar in design to maximum security facilities; however, they:
    • Usually have more windows.
    • Tend to have barbed wire fences instead of large stone walls.
    • Sometimes use dormitory style housing.

Medium Security

  • Medium security prisons allow prisoners more freedom, such as:
    • Associating with other prisoners
    • Going to the prison yard or exercise room
    • Visiting the library
    • Showering and using bathroom facilities with less supervision
  • An important security tool is the count.

Minimum Security

  • In minimum security prisons:
    • Housing tends to be dormitory style.
    • Prisoners usually have freedom of movement within the facility.
    • Work is done under general supervision only.
    • Guards are unarmed, and gun towers do not exist.
    • Fences, if they exist, are low and sometimes unlocked.
    • “Counts” are usually not taken.
    • Prisoners are sometimes allowed to wear their own clothes.

Prison Classification System

  • Classification systems determine which custody level to assign an inmate to. Assignments are based on:
    • Offense history
    • Assessed dangerousness
    • Perceived risk of escape
    • Other factors
  • Inmates may move among the security levels depending on their behavior.
  • Internal classification systems determine placement and program assignment within an institution.

Federal Prison System

  • History
    • 1895—Leavenworth, Kansas—First non military federal prison opens.
    • 1906—Second federal prison opens in Atlanta.
    • 1927—Alderson, West Virginia—First federal prison for women.
    • 1933—Springfield, Missouri—Medical Center for federal prisoners.
    • 1934—Alcatraz begins operations.

Today’s Federal Prison System

  • Today’s federal prison system consists of:
    • 103 institutions
    • 6 regional offices
    • The Central office (headquarters)
    • 2 staff training centers
    • 28 community corrections offices

Federal BOP Facilities, 2009

  • FIGURE 13–3 Federal Bureau of Prison facilities by region, 2009.

Federal Prison System

  • The Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) classifies its institutions according to five security levels.
    • Administrative maximum (ADMAX)
    • High security (U.S. penitentiaries)
    • Medium security (federal correctional institutions)
    • Low security (federal correctional institutions)
    • Minimum security (federal prison camps)
  • Additionally, there are administrative facilities, like metropolitan detention centers (MDCs) and medical centers for federal prisoners (MDFPs).

Federal Correctional Complexes

  • Federal correctional facilities exist either as single institutions or as federal correctional complexes (FCCs)—sites consisting of more than one type of correctional institution.
    • Example: FCC at Allenwood, PA. (consists of one U.S. penitentiary and two federal correctional institutions (one low and one medium security).

Federal Prison System: Administrative Facilities

  • The federal prison system’s administrative facilities are institutions with special missions.
    • Metropolitan Detention Centers (MDCs)
      • Generally located in large cities, close to federal courthouses
      • Hold inmates awaiting trial (like jails)
    • Medical Centers for Federal Prisoners (MCFP)

Administrative Maximum (ADMAX)

  • In 1995, the federal government opened its only ADMAX prison:
    • Located in Florence, Colorado
    • $60 million ultra-high security
    • 575 bed capacity
    • Inmates confined to cells 23 hours per day
    • Only toughest 1% of federal prison population is confined there
    • Holds mob bosses, spies, terrorists, escape artists, murderers, etc.


  • Improvements to our nations prisons can be found in:
    • Accreditation by the American Correctional Association’s (ACA)
    • Training though the National Academy of Corrections


  • Jails—Locally operated, short-term confinement facilities.
    • Original purpose—confinement of suspects following arrest and awaiting trial.
    • Current use—confinement of those convicted of misdemeanors and some felonies, as well as holding suspects following arrest and awaiting trial.


  • There are 3,365 jails in the U.S.
    • Most jails are small, designed to hold 50 or fewer inmates.
    • Some jails are very big, like “mega-jails” in LA and NYC.
  • There are 207,600 correctional officers.
    • 3:1 inmate/staff ratio
  • The average cost to jail a person for a year is $14,500.


  • Most people process through jails are members of minority groups:
    • 56% minority
      • 38.6% African American
      • 15.6% Hispanic
    • 44% Caucasian
  • Typical charges:
    • 12.1% drug trafficking
    • 11.7% assault
    • 10.8% drug possession
    • 7% larceny

Women and Jail

  • Women comprise 12.9% of the jail population.
  • They’re the largest growth group nationwide.
  • Women face a number of special problems, including:
    • Inadequate classification systems
    • Lack of separate housing
    • Low educational levels
    • Substance abuse
    • Pregnancy/Motherhood
    • Inadequate substantive medical programs

Women and Jail

  • Women make up 22% of correctional officer force in jails.
  • Female officers are committed to their careers and tend to be positively valued by male counterparts. However,
    • A disproportionate number of female personnel held lower ranking jobs.
      • 60% of support staff is female
      • 10% of chief administrators is female
    • Issues can arise when member of the opposite sex are assigned to watch over inmates.

Growth of Jails

  • Many jails are old and overcrowded.
  • By the end of 1980s, many jails were so overcrowded that court-ordered caps forced some early releases.
  • By 2006, national jail occupancy was at 94% rated capacity. Larger jails are more crowded than smaller ones. Some individual facilities are desperately overcrowded.

Jail Facts

  • TABLE 13–1

Direct Supervision Jails

  • A new jail architecture and management strategy is called direct supervision. These jails:
    • Use a system of pods or modular self-contained housing areas
    • Have a more open environment, using Plexiglas instead of thick walls to separate areas
    • Use softer furniture
    • May use “rooms” instead of cells

Benefits of Direct Supervision Jails

  • Direct supervision jails
    • Reduce inmate dissatisfaction
    • Deter rape and violence
    • Decrease suicide and escape attempts
    • Eliminate barriers to staff-inmate interaction
    • Give staff greater control
    • Improve staff morale
    • Reduce lawsuits

Jails and the Future

  • National efforts are underway to improve quality of jail life by:


  • A private prison is a correctional institution operated by a private firm on behalf of the government.
  • The movement toward greater use of private prisons began in the 1980s.
    • Private prisons operate in 34 stated and the District of Columbia.
    • 35% annual growth rate

Benefits of Privatization

  • Private prisons can:
    • Reduce overcrowding
    • Lower operating expenses
    • Avoid lawsuits

Hurdles to Large-Scale Privatization

  • Large scale privatization is hindered by:
    • Laws prohibiting private sector involvement in correctional management
    • Possibility of public employees striking
    • Liability and other legal issues

NIJ Recommendations

  • The National Institute of Justice (NIJ) recommends that those states that privatize corrections:
    • Regularly survey former inmates about conditions
    • Annually visit and inspect facilities
    • Station state monitors inside large facilities
    • Review all services before renewing contracts

The database is protected by copyright © 2016
send message

    Main page